Importance Of Ei In Construction Education Essay

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Emotionally intelligent people are defined in part as those who regulate their emotions according to a logically consistent model of emotional functioning. Leadership behaviour is defined as interpersonal influence directed towards the achievement of goals. The purpose of the study is to examine the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and transformational leadership behaviours and team effectiveness in Malaysian construction executives. In short, the paper summarizes the importance of interpersonal skills and affinities acquired by the executives in Malaysia Construction Industry that plays a vital role in the development stage of the construction.

In an organization, to achieve certain goals, human resource is needed. Numerous organizations contended that their "greatest asset is our people" (Butler & Chinowsky, 2006).This statement has become a practical term or a norm because without human assets, one cannot achieve the goals that the organization set for because it is easier to complete a task with a vast number of people than a person alone. Set for a situation for example, an owner of a raw material production factory that has to manage and take charge of all the procedures regarding the production of a particular product. Generally, it takes a longer time for the product to be produced and the output level of the production will be lower. However, the owner does not need to pay for the employee for services. In contrary, an owner of the same factory that has a high number of employees assisting in the production of the raw material will definitely give out high output. The owner has to pay for the services. Nevertheless, the amount of productions will be definitely few times higher depending on the number of employees hired which in return trades in more profits as well. Other factors have to be considered as well such as advanced tools and technology provided and etc. Depending on tools and technology solely will not improve the productivity of an organization but the empathy and interpersonal skills of executives in a company that act as strong fundamentals in directing the company from a start-up to guru.

Emotional Intelligence has been the buzzword of the current century. What is exactly emotional intelligence that everyone is talking about in the world today? Emotional intelligence can be explained as the capacity to process emotional information accurately and efficiently, including that information relevant to the recognition, construction and regulation of emotion in oneself and others as others (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

Over the recent years, most of the leadership research has shifted from one of examining the impacts of transactional leadership to the identification and examination of those behaviours shown by the leader that made followers more aware of the importance and values of tasks outcomes, activate their high order needs, and induce them to transcend self-interests for the sake of the organization (Bass, 1985; Yukl, 1989a, 1989b). This defines the transformational leaderships.

The purpose of this research paper is to determine whether there is a strong or weak relationship exists between the emotional intelligence and the transformational leadership behaviour exhibited by the executives of construction industry in Malaysia. The secondary purpose is to examine the strengths and weaknesses exhibited in Malaysian Construction Executives that are related to the developing transformational leadership behaviour.

Literature Review


Beginning in 1970, psychologists began to depart from what was considered traditional psychology research and desired to study the combination of intelligence and emotion, resulting in exploration into the realm of "cognition and affect." In the decades that followed, more and more research focused on proving that humans possessed multiple intelligences. During 1990 to 1993, psychologists' interest in research on EI was gaining momentum, and the early publications on emotions as an intelligent were introduced in that period.

EI is defined as an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one's ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures (Bar-On 1997). Psychologists have been studying these non-cognitive intelligences and been able to group them into three intelligence categories as follows (Johnson and Indvik 1999):

Abstract intelligence: the ability to understand and manipulate verbal and mathematical symbols;

Concrete intelligence: the ability to understand and manipulate objects; and

Social intelligence: the ability to understand and relate to people.

These intelligence categories reflect the idea of multiple intelligences as introduced by Howard Gardner (1983), who contended that intelligence comprises an array of component intelligences, which include linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and personal intelligence Gardner 1983. Widespread attention and popularity were gained for the newly named "emotional intelligence" as psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman's book of the same title reached the bestseller list in 1995. Goleman 1995contends that emotionally intelligent people will experience greater success and satisfaction in life, therefore essentially equating EI with positive social behaviour.

Goleman argues that individuals with high EI possess the most effective leadership qualities, and in addition he focused on the ability to learn EI. Goleman believes that EI can be learned if the proper training is used to teach individuals the competencies included in EI. Goleman and another researcher, Richard Boyatzis (1999) developed a test, the Emotional Competence Inventory 360 (ECI 360), in 1998. This test aims to assess the strengths and limitations of individuals' EI competencies and attempts to test and identify the competencies most associated with star performance of an individual in the workplace.

Another leading researcher on EI is Reuven Bar-On, who produced a model of "non-cognitive intelligence" (Bar-On 1997), which includes a multifactorial array of emotional, personal, and social abilities that allow individuals to cope with demands and pressures of their environments. These 15 multi-factors fall within five areas of EI: interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, adaptability, stress management, and general moods.

Bar-On's model is multifactorial, relates to potential for performance rather than performance itself, and defines success as "the end product of that which one strives to achieve and accomplish" (Bar-On 1997). Bar-On believes that EQ scores, when combined with cognitive IQ scores, provide a better comprehensive indication of an individual's overall intelligence, hence offering a better indication of potential to succeed than relying on one score. During his 19 years of research on EI, he developed the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) test, measuring interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, adaptability, stress management, and general moods. Based on the extensive validation of this test as documented by Bar-On (1997), and the extended time in which it has been applied, the decision was made to adopt the Bar-On EQ-i for this research effort.


Leadership has been studied for many centuries and can be traced to writings from the philosopher Epictetus in the first century A.D. There are many components that describe leadership, and therefore there is not a consensus among researchers as to what the definition of leadership should be. Goleman (1998) writes in Harvard Business Review, "What Makes a Leader?" "Effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence." He argues that a good leader in an organization will have the ability to know what type of leadership to employ, depending on the situation.

The transformational/transactional leadership model was developed by Burns in the late 1970s, who defined transformational leaders as those that are inspirational to those they lead as well as provide intellectual challenges (Burns 1978). Transactional leaders deal with day-to-day activities as an exchange between themselves and their subordinates. Burns's model was extended by Aviolo (1999) and Bass (1985), who added another type of leadership: laissez-faire. Table 1 outlines this model of leadership styles and definitions (Aviolo, 1999).

The frequency with which an individual engages in these three leadership behaviours can be determined by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), Form 5X. This self-report test developed by Bass and Aviolo has been used in academic studies on leadership. Although leadership is an intangible trait, the MLQ method has developed a track record for providing insights into leadership behaviour, as documented by Bass and Aviolo. This track record provided a basis from which the writers decided to adopt the test and use it to obtain the leadership information required for this study.

In the past few years, studies have attempted to correlate effective leadership with EI. The studies identify leadership styles based on the transformational/transactional leadership model developed by Bass. The transformational leader is defined as one who arouses awareness and interest in the group or organization, increases the confidence of individuals or groups, and attempts to move the concerns of subordinates to achievement and growth rather than existence (Gardner and Stough 2002). The transactional leader is one who focuses on exchanges from subordinates to address their needs (Bass 1985).

One such study conducted by Barling examined the leadership styles and EI of 49 managers. The writers measured EI by the Bar-On EQ-i, but only reported total EQ and not the different subscales it comprises. This study found EI and three components of transformational leadership were positively related, and also found that one component of transactional leadership was positively related with EI. The highest correlation in this study was found to be between EI and inspirational motivation (Barling et al. 2000).

A second study conducted by Palmer found several significant correlations between transformational leadership and EI. The study used a modified version of the Trait Meta Mood Scale developed by Salovey to measure EI. The writers suggest that the correlations found in this study define two underlying competencies of effective leadership: the ability to monitor emotions in oneself and others, and the ability to manage emotions (Palmer et al. 2001).

A third study conducted to link EI and leadership (Gardner and Stough 2002) focused on senior-level managers for the population and used the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Test (SUEIT) to measure EI. A third leadership style was added to the transformational and transactional type of leader, laissez-faire leader, defined as one who avoided accepting responsibility, was absent when required, failed to follow up on requests for assistance, and resisted expressing an opinion on important issues. Of the 110 participants in the study, 69 were senior-level managers or above. The results found a strong correlation between transformational leadership and overall EI, but a negative relationship between a laissez-faire leadership style and EI (Gardner and Stough 2002).

Importance of EI in Construction

The construction industry remains one of the most labour-intensive project-based industries in the UK, and contributes significantly to the economy (Chan and Kara 2007). The project-based nature of the industry has resulted in diverse groups of people, with often very different priorities and goals, being brought together for short-term periods of time to work together. They frequently need to rapidly establish cooperative working relationships whilst being employed by different organization on different conditions of contract (Dainty et al. 2007). To successfully manage and coordinate these competing individual interests and goals with those of central to the project, it is essential that construction project managers possess the higher levels of intelligence, personal characteristics, interpersonal skills and leadership qualities (Shirazi and Hampson 1998). All of these are important components of the EI construct. Butler and Chinowsky (2006) have extensively investigated the relevance of EI to the construction sector. They demonstrated the positive impact that EI can have on construction executives' leadership behaviour and suggested that construction organizations should recognize the value of EI given its significance to their managers' performance. The importance of EI in the sector is by no means restricted to executives, for example, Shirazi and Hampson (1998) suggested that building project managers will require a more integrated blend of both hard and soft skills in the future. This requirement is beginning to be reflected in the typical EI attributes required by employers in their person specifications. A survey conducted by Jagger and Connor (1998: 463) demonstrated that employers look for particular softer skills among graduates such as: interpersonal skills; communication skills; business awareness; flexibility/versatility; team working; and initiative/proactively. Another survey developed by Davis (1996) claimed that employers want candidates with strong interpersonal skills; team players who can also lead a team; good commercial

Research Methodology

To obtain results, a standard form of questionnaire, hybrid of open and close-ended survey that will be given out to the respondents to select their best choice of responses and also their critics and comments in their own words. Test subjects are construction executives all over Malaysia, mainly architects, engineers & general contractors including project managers. Respondents targeted are in number of 20. The results obtained will be used to determine the relationship existence between the Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Behaviour in the Malaysia Construction Industry.